Archive for the ‘tips’ Category

Together In Perfect Harmony

May 25, 2008

Above pictured is the Logitech Harmony One Universal Remote Control

After 8 plus years of using my trusty old war horse, the Marantz RC2000MKII, I finally decided it was time to upgrade my universal remote. I knew I wanted another programmable one, with macros, I just wasn’t sure which. I had heard some good things about Harmony, and decided to take the plunge Friday. I just want to say, that I’ve NEVER had ANY consumer electronic be so intuitive and easy to operate right out of the box! I usually judge how simple a product is to use, by counting the amount of profanities spewed during installation. The more curses, the less usable. Well, I am proud to say, after 3 days of setting up, (which actually only took 15 minutes, I like to tweak) and use of this device, not even a “gosh darnit” has been uttered from me! EVERYTHING, and I do mean EVERYTHING had worked as advertised and has been a joy!

I have had tons of remotes over the years, and all have claimed to have ways to alleviate complicated, multiple button presses. You sit for hours programming each step for a Macro. Turn on this, switch to that input, turn TV to another input, only to hit the button to find NONE of it works because you forgot to add a 2 second pause or some other inane reason. If, after all that, and you aren’t discouraged, you’ll still never use the Macro, because you have to create another one to get out of the first one! Or shut everything off to start over another ma…..AHHHH! See what I mean?!?! Those days are over with the Harmony One. I actually use Macros for the first time in my life, which Harmony calls “Activities”. It truly is as simple as touching on the screen, things like; Watch a DVD or Listen to a CD. You can even customize those labels! For Instance, mine says “watch a Blu-Ray” and so forth. If you are doing one thing, and hit the Activity for something else, the remote KNOWS it, and switches accordingly. Best thing of all, it has a help button that actually helps!

The true test of a remote’s worth is the WIFE test. My wife came up to see what the fuss was about this thing. Guess what? She loves it! She can actually enjoy the best theater in the house now without my help! She loves the feel of it, the fact it has actual nice buttons, is light, and how simple it is to use without having to ask me what input, etc. If you are thinking of getting one, the only thing to keep in mind, is that it is infrared only. No Bluetooth, PS3’s or radio frequencies. But if you are like me, with an infrared system (including climate controls) you are in for a treat. I don’t think I can rate this product any better, I give it a solid A, an A+ if it did Bluetooth or RF. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Blu-rays to catch up on this holiday weekend. -C


February 16, 2008


Walmart, Netflix, and Best Buy essentially put the final nail in the coffin for HDDVD. Now the last flag flyer for the format has quit. Toshiba is ceasing production of HDDVD with an announcement expected next week. I am glad to see this format war end, possibly even more than the devise of Circuit City’s Divx debacle. The quicker this ends, the quicker we get greater movies, and classic titles in sweet 1080p goodness. Source

New Year New Phone.

January 27, 2008

Blackberry Pearl

 The age of Windows Mobile has ended here at Casa Carnell. In a final retrospect of Windows Mobile 5, I will say that the platform has tons of potential. However, there is lots of work that needs to be done to Active Sync to make it a more user friendly (and stable) experience. When considering a new phone, I wanted something far less “tweaky”. So far, I am really enjoying my experiences with my Blackberry Pearl 8130. Things are doing what many other platforms promise, they are “just working” to steal a line from Apple’s marketing department. I forgot how much fun noodling around a cell could be, and applications are a breeze to add, without the Incredible Disappearing App Trick that Windows Mobile 5 mastered.  I am sure I will post more reactions and thoughts on this phone over time, so stay tuned. If you are in the market for a smart-phone, I give it a full recommendation!

Windows Live Mobile Search revisited.

July 14, 2007

Windows Mobile screenshot

Well heck, my post a couple of weeks ago was all about Windows Live Search for mobile. I got a chance to use it on a work trip, in an area I am entirely unfamiliar with, and it worked perfectly! Now, they have gone and released a new version of it. I have to go out of town again soon, and I see this version has some new features I can’t wait to try out!

You can find the new version Here.

Windows Mobile Live Search

July 1, 2007

Windows Mobile screenshot

Back in February, I wrote about Google maps for the Pocket PC. I must say, it sadly disappointed me. I found it to be slow, and unreliable on directions. I understand you can’t follow these things blindly, but google didn’t even have a clue WHERE my destination was on two separate occasions. I’ve since found, Windows Live for Pocket PCs, and have had much better luck. Not only has it been dead on, on locations, with every search I have done so far, but it’s lightning fast! It was also up to date with construction reports in my area. To get it, simply go here, and click on Do More With Windows Mobile. You may have to sign up i(f you don’t have a Passport account), but it’s quick, painless, and one time only. There are other free programs and software on the page, and I have been enjoying the trial of Photo Contacts 3.0 and on Mobile’s news and videos.

Entry for March 17, 2007

March 17, 2007

Microsoft put a very much needed update for you wifi router and laptop users out there. For some reason they did it under the radar, and is not included in the critical update patches. I have noticed a definite improvement, so I highly recommend it. It is located HERE

Entry for February 04, 2007

February 4, 2007

Okay, this is nice. Google maps is available on cell phones now! and with my Pocket PC, and the EVDO network now in my area on Verizon, it is practically as smooth as Google Earth is on my PC! Give it a try, it’s free. It does use the internet and possible GPS, so check with your provider’s plan so you won’t be surprised with any charges.

Google Maps

Entry for October 20, 2006

October 20, 2006


Firefox version 2.0 coming tuesday! I have it now, and so far it is wonderful, with new features. More info as I try it out, it will be available here.

Entry for October 19, 2006

October 19, 2006


  Well, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 7 today, and I am giving it a whirl. I must say they certainly didn’t make it easy to transfer your Firefox bookmarks over, and I am sure that is there way of payback to us dissidents.  I found a program that does it, sort of, HERE.  You see, it only does top folders, so if you have tons of bookmarks, in cascading folders, like myself, well, you are kinda hosed. It will take a bit of reorganizing, but nothing is simple I suppose. I recommend the 32 bit version for most of you, if you need the 64 bit version, you should know.

 I have NOT switched away from my beloved Firefox mind you, I am just needing IE7 to sync my favorites with my Pocket PC. Truthfully, I see no reason for you to switch if you already use Firefox, however, Microsoft will give you this in early November anyway and it does seem a bit more secure than before. Only time will tell if it really is secure, and with their track record, I am going to take a “wait and see” attitude in the mean time. Happy Safe Surfing, no matter what browser you choose.


-Carnell Image


1) Firefox

2) Internet Explorer 7

3) Bookmark Converter

Entry for September 16, 2006

September 16, 2006


 Lately, I have been on the search for a new phone. I consider myself a good consumer electronics shopper, seeing that I know months in advance what I plan on buying, and usually research to the point of madness. During those searches I read a LOT of manuals that are usually put in the Portable Document Format, also known as PDF. PDFs are very convenient because they let you see a brochure just how they would look in print, and also prints them out exactly that way, without you having to set up page after page of info to fit your paper size. Usually the program used by most to read them is Adobe’s Acrobat program, which is on about every setup disk for any program on the planet. Now, my beef with Adobe is its program’s ridiculous size (it was 60MBs on my PC) and its constant annoying pop up screen asking you to upgrade! I don’t have a business, nor am I interested in writing my own PDFs, so this is just a lot of bloat that makes reading a simple document a pain in the tookus.


 No need to fear!!! Here comes the wonderful, light weight Foxit! Not only is the file under 2 Megs! It also will do about anything that you (the average web surfer) would want to do with a PDF for absolutely free! Boy, is it fast! Been using it for a week now, and have not had a single issue. The website goes into much greater detail about its advantages over Acrobat Reader, so I will spare you, and let you go there for yourself!

Link Image